Sephora became the latest major chain to lock up its products in an effort to combat the scourge of retail theft, according to a report.
In the past, Sephora’s fragrance section had been lined with bottles of perfume intended for sampling in front of stacks of unopened boxes of the scent.
But rampant shoplifting has forced Sephora to remove the unopened boxes from shelves, forcing customers to seek help from a store employee before heading to the checkout counter, a spokesperson for the beauty-product chain confirmed to CNN.
Sephora told the outlet that fragrances are among shoplifters’ favorite items.
The San Francisco-based company’s anti-theft strategy follows similar moves implemented by Target, Walmart and CVS, which have all locked up items ranging from toothpaste to underwear and even tins of tuna and cheap meat Spam.
Sephora has amassed a loyal following for its try-before-you-buy sales floor, where customers are encouraged to spray a scent, swipe on some lipstick or test an eyeshadow before deciding on what to purchase.
However, a surge in thefts pushed the retailer to ditch this sales strategy in its fragrance section, and also to add more staff specifically tasked with thwarting shoplifters, according to CNN.
“To minimize the threats of retail theft and to provide our shoppers with the peace of mind during their experience at Sephora, we’ve increased the presence of Sephora loss prevention investigators across all stores,” the retailer said in a statement to CNN.
The Post reached out to Sephora for comment.
Sephora rolled out the updates to its fragrance displays at some of its 400-plus US locations in July and August.
That hasn’t prevented bandits from swiping the testers, the company said
It wasn’t immediately clear if Sephora has plans to change up its makeup, skincare and haircare displays, which still appear to showcase both an opened product intended for testing and a stockpile of unopened products still in their packaging.
Experts have blamed the rise of retail theft on lax policies — including the passage of Prop 47 in California, which reduced theft from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — as well as calls to defund the police in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, which resulted in a mass exodus of cops nationwide.
The atmosphere has made retail-laden cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago a “shoplifter’s paradise.”
Although there’s no nationwide policy on how to deal with shoplifting, many retailers have tried to combat by locking products up behind anti-theft cases and implementing strict policies that instruct staffers not to intervene with a robbery.
However, Sheriff Jim Cooper of California’s Sacramento County said that stores’ new shoplifting policies are beginning to interfere with authorities’ efforts to crack down on retail theft.
The sheriff launched a scathing tirade against Target earlier this week.
“We could not handcuff suspects in the store; and if we arrested someone, they wanted us to process them outside… behind the store… in the rain,” an exasperated Cooper fumed in a lengthy X post.
“We were told they didn’t want to create a scene inside the store and have people film it and put it on social media,” Cooper added. “They didn’t want negative press. Unbelievable.”
Cooper detailed one incident at Target where “deputies watched a lady on camera bring in her own shopping bags, go down the body wash isle and grab a bunch of Native body washes. Then she went to customer service and return them!”